Leadership in crisis situations

Fecha de publicación:
Cameron R. Hume

The basis of the international system is still the nation-state. During the last fifty years decolonization divided the entire world into nation-states, and the UN Charter enshrined the juridical norm of sovereign equality and the rule against intervention in matters essentially within their domestic jurisdiction. At the same time states have accepted restrictions on their freedom of action to achieve shared goals and to preserve order within the system. Whether through cooperation or conflict, states pursue their interests. For a diplomat the term “crisis situation” evokes conflicts between states. Today´s typical crisis is the failure of the state to perform basic functions: providing for the security and welfare of all its citizens and managing relations with its neighbors. As a state breaks apart into warlord fiefdoms, the basis for the rules of sovereign equality and non-intervention disappears. The spread of chaos damages the security interests of other states. Refugees, trade disruptions, arms flows, brigandage, and drug trafficking: what starts out as an internal conflict becomes a regional threat.